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Heating oil tanks graphicThurston County has an estimated 4,000 heating oil tanks used for space heating of homes, churches, schools, and small businesses. Tanks are either above or below the ground. A typical tank is made of steel, unfortunately steel is susceptible to rust (or corrosion). Over time, corrosion (particularly underground tanks in tight, damp soils) may cause leaks, leading to possible contamination of soil, groundwater, and surface water.

A property owner can be held liable for contamination or environmental damage caused by a leaking tank. It is, therefore, in the property owner's best interest to determine if a tank is leaking. Oil tanks that have been out of use for more than one year must be removed from the ground or properly abandoned (decommissioned in place).

For more information on regulatory requirements, insurance, and how to decommission a tank, see Guidelines for Decommissioning a Residential Heating Oil Tank [PDF] and our other home heating oil tank publications (see sidebar) or call Environmental Health at 360-867-2589.

Local Government Regulations

Unincorporated Thurston County

  • Building Dept Phone #: 360-786-5490
  • Contacting fire dept not required
  • *Permit and site plan is required
  • *Inspection is required
  • **Soil test required: Yes, if inspector detects contamination or if tank is decommissioned in place

Bucoda

  • Building Dept Phone #: 360-278-3525
  • Contacting fire dept not required
  • *Permit and site plan is required
  • *Inspection is required
  • **Soil test required: Yes, if inspector detects contamination or if tank is decommissioned in place

Lacey

  • Building Dept Phone #: 360-491-5642
  • Contacting fire dept not required
  • *Permit and site plan not required
  • *Inspection not required
  • **Soil test required: Only if tank is leaking

Olympia

  • Building Dept Phone #: 360-753-8314
  • Also contact fire dept at 360-753-8348
  • *Permit and site plan is required
  • *Inspection is required
  • **Soil test is required

Rainier

  • Building Dept Phone #: 360-446-2265
  • Contacting fire dept not required
  • *Permit and site plan is required
  • *Inspection is required
  • **Soil test required: Yes, if inspector detects contamination or if tank is decommissioned in place

Tenino

  • Building Dept Phone #: 360-264-2368
  • Contacting fire dept not required
  • *Permit and site plan not required
  • *Inspection is required
  • **Soil test required: Yes, if inspector detects contamination

Tumwater

  • Building Dept Phone #: 360-754-4180
  • Contacting fire dept not required
  • *Permit and site plan is required
  • *Inspection is required
  • **Soil test required: Yes, if inspector detects contamination

Yelm

  • Building Dept Phone #: 360-458-8407
  • Contacting fire dept not required
  • *Permit and site plan is required
  • *Inspection is required
  • **Soil test required: Yes, if inspector detects contamination

*Obtaining the proper permit is the responsibility of the homeowner, not the contractor. However, many contractors include this process in their service. If your contractor obtains the permit, make sure you receive a copy.

**Soil tests are always strongly recommended because they are the only way to legally document that your site is not contaminated.

 
 
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This page last updated: 09/04/13